As the year 2014 winds down, here’s a look back at some of the moments and people that made the season what it was as the St. Louis Cardinals went 90-72 and earned their fourth consecutive trip to the National League Championship Series.
–Former manager Tony La Russa was among those announced as the newest class elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. During his 16-year tenure with St. Louis, La Russa compiled a record of 1408-1182 and won two of the three World Series the Cardinals appeared in. At the Winter Warm-Up, he talked about the honor joining the greats in Cooperstown and his time in St. Louis…
–(Feb 7th) The Cardinals announced the signing of reliever Pat Neshek to a minor league contract and invitation to Spring Training. The right-hander would become a key part of the bullpen in 2014,
–(Feb 12th) Pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training and St. Louis Baseball Weekly made it’s debut with a remote broadcast from the Cardinals training complex at Roger Dean Stadium. Matt Carpenter was the very first guest on the show and detailed why he arrived to camp with a couple of 2×4’s in tow…
Besides new faces such as Neshek, Peter Bourjos, and Jhonny Peralta the Cardinals clubhouse also had a new look as Matt Holliday arranged for a ping pong table. While Holliday showed early dominance, Seth Maness and then later Bourjos wound up with the title belt hanging in front of his locker.
–(Feb 14th) After suffering multiple strokes, Jim Fregosi (71) passed away. A six-time All-Star, Fregosi played 19 seasons (Angels, Mets, Rangers and Pirates) in the big leagues and amassed a .265 batting average, 151 HRs, and 706 RBIs.
He managed parts of 16 seasons in the big leagues–including 1993’s National League Championship team.
Fregosi also managed three seasons in Louisville for the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate.
–(February 23rd) Nine months removed from shoulder surgery, pitcher Jaime Garcia was diagnosed with bursitis in his shoulder and shut down for a couple of weeks.
–(Feb 24th) Experimental Rule 7.13 was jointly announced by MLP and the Player’s Association, which changed the way home plate collisions would be allowed moving forward. Mike Matheny, who had been at the forefront of calling for change, demonstrated on video how the Cardinals were going to change where their catchers lined up to block the plate.
–(March 8th) Matt Carpenter agreed to a six-year contract extension that would keep him in a Cardinals uniform through the 2019 season with a team option for 2020.
–(March 9th) The St. Louis Cardinals ventured into the international free agent market, signing Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz. General Manager John Mozeliak described it as “a significant benchmark” for the team. Author and Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman later joined St. Louis Baseball Weekly and discussed what kind of impact Diaz could have in the Major Leagues…
Due to injury, Diaz only played in 47 games (13-Palm Beach, 34-Springfield) and hit a combined .273 for the season.
–(March 18th) Long-time team physicians Dr. George Paletta and Dr. Lyndon Gross parted ways with the Cardinals as the team announced a new partnership with Mercy Sports Medicine. Paletta would still remain very much in the mix however, as players consulted him for second opinions and he performed the elbow surgery on Wainwright after the season.
–(March 23rd) Joe Kelly is announced as the fifth starter in the rotation, beating out Carlos Martinez for the spot.
–(March 27th) Ballpark Village opens with a free concert from Third Eye Blind to kick off the festivities.
–(March 31st) Adam Wainwright becomes the 16th pitcher in franchise history to win at least 100 games for the Cardinals as he allows only three hits and strikes out nine over 7 IP in the 1-0 victory over Cincinnati to open the season.
Check back soon for more of the 2014 Season Review…
photo credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE